where the writers are
I Hope Publishers Don't Die, But The Bandwagon Is In Motion

I do not want to have to take upon me the chores which publishers historically have done. I want external editing, promotion and distribution. I am content to have a publisher create the unit of the book, whether on paper or digital. I also prefer to have reputable publishers vet potential works to restrain a flood of trash. Too many inferior products in the marketplace and we all suffer. So I hope publishers are adapting to the not-so-new way of the world.

Reading novels on a Kindle or Ipad

'Ebook sales have increased by over 300% for the second year running.'

Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

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Richard Molle


Your feature article conveyed an inaccurate picture of the publishingindustry experiencing a crisis of "digital storm clouds gathering overhead", and which is about to be "swamped by self-publishing...an idea whose time has come" ('No one's said the word crisis': book world struggles to adapt to new lines, 19 April).

In fact, while digital technology most certainly is changing the face of publishing, this is a process which is as much being done by publishers as being done to them. What is more, the role of publishers will become more, not less, important as the digital marketplace expands.

With ebook sales increasing by more than 300% for the second year, publishers delivering new revenue streams through ebook apps, and academic publishers long having derived some 90% of their revenue online, it is a travesty to describe all this as the publishing world being "in denial" about digital.

Your article ignores the fact that, as well as delivering to reader-consumers, publishers will continue to provide creative support to ambitious authors. As author Val McDermid told MPs recently: "To say that you can just send your books into the marketplace without any mediation is a colossal arrogance".